Perhaps it’s the heat and humidity that’s gotten to me. Each time I listen to the news I hear headlines listed like a series of bad dreams or worse, a non-stop run-on sentence of misery, violence, and existential threats to my being. Writers can get away with a run-on sentence from time to time, but most of us know it’s a long-established tabu. Thanks to Miss Kelly, my second, fifth, seventh, and eighth grade teacher, I’d rather eat baking powder than write a never-ending sentence with multiple subjects, verbs, and modifiers.

When I hear news headlines linked like freight cars in one of those long train caravans hauling corn from Iowa to Oregon, my ears grow weary. Actually, my ears and soul become weary. That’s when I know it’s time to jump off the train and explore other stimuli. Breaking news should not break me. I could spend some time writing notes to friends or reading one of the books I’ve loaded onto my iPad. I could assemble a five-hundred-piece online jigsaw puzzle. Or I could do something much simpler, like looking for laughs embedded in the lead lines of the emails in my spam folder! That’s how eager I am to boycott the news.

We’ve all screeched at some of these lines, and at times we’ve uttered responses to them. Here are a few subject lines I’ve received recently, followed by my verbal reactions. You’ll recognize some of these little gems, especially if like me, you never drank the polluted water at Camp Lejeune and, as of today you’ve been awarded forty-five DEWALT EXTREME DRILLS and fifteen JOHN DEERE mowers.

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“Say good-bye to unwanted skin tags.” I never said hello to them, but now that they’re here, maybe I’d like to keep them.

“Someone may have run a background check on you.” Well, it’s about time. I wouldn’t trust me if I were you.

“One teaspoon of this every morning destroys high blood pressure.” It’s probably arsenic. Forget about high BP. One teaspoon daily will destroy everything.

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“Michelle, earn 72£ each month.” Brilliant! My name is not Michelle, and 72£ a month is a measly sum.

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“Blue radiation can make you go blind.” You may be blind already if you keep exposing yourself to radiation, blue or otherwise.

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“Feeling nauseous because of your blood?” It’s not because of my blood. It’s due to these infernally stupid spam emails.

“Krogers has sent you a payment.” I hate to turn away free money, but I’ve never been to Krogers.

“Your dog is probably barking right now.” No, it’s either my neighbor’s dog or my cat, Dimples* perfecting her dog-imitation act. She does a mean lion’s roar also. (*The name has been changed in order to protect the not-so-innocent.)

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“Mitch McConnell DOOMED!” If only…

“Diabetes gone in two days.” Just eat fifty bars of chocolate and wash them down with a liter of Coca-Cola. Every part of you will be gone…in one day instead of two.

“Rebuild your gums and teeth.” But they haven’t collapsed yet. And I’d like to get at least three estimates before I hire myself to do this job.

“Get the knees of a twenty-year-old.” And just where am I going to find a twenty-year-old who’s willing to give me her knees?

“Holographic phones are coming!” Just in time for me to call some of my holographic friends I haven’t seen since the beginning of the Covid pandemic.

Yeti by Richard Croft is licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0

“Reminder about your YETI.” Oh no, not again with the runaway yeti!

“How to reverse brain shrinkage.” If this is for George Costanza, it has something to do with cold water. If it’s for me, I promise to stop putting mine in the clothes dryer.

“Things are about to get ugly.” You’re telling me?

Bring on the breaking news! I can handle it now, although I was saddened to read about the deaths of Bill Russell and Nichel Nichols… respected examples of courage and fortitude.

© Renée Bess

Renée Bess writes fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction. Her most recent book, Between a Rock and a Soft Place, as well as her six other books can be purchased at http://www.bellabooks.com, http://www.amazon.com, http://www.barnesandnoble.com, and http://www.kobobooks.com. For more information, visit http://www.reneebess.com

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